UPDATE: This article initially indicated that the AR-15’s standard round was “moderate in muzzle velocity.” I should have written that it’s lacking in “killing power” according to this analysis. The article has been corrected to reflect this reality. I deeply regret the error, which was the result of a lamentable brain cramp.
A good response to the self-righteous exclamation “You let your son play with toy guns!?” might once have been, “Well, yeah, he’s too young to have a real one!” But perhaps not anymore, not with a new addition to the firearms market: a smaller, lighter AR-15 designed just for kids.
Dubbed the JR-15, the AFP relates that it’s “marketed by maker WEE1 Tactical as ‘the first in a line of shooting platforms that will safely help adults introduce children to the shooting sports.’” Clearly aghast, the news organ further reports that the “company’s website says the rifle ‘also looks, feels, and operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun.’”
Unsurprisingly, the AFP reminds people in its commentary masquerading as hard news that the AR-15 “has been used in multiple mass killings in the United States…” while quoting only anti-Second Amendment activists in its piece. Yet is mixing kids and guns really anything to fear? Let’s examine the matter.
Many people today won’t let their sons play with toy guns, perhaps afraid that it could increase the chances their boys could become murderers. But, question: Do these people also stop their kids from playing with trucks for fear they’ll turn into truck drivers? (And with the Canadian protests, this may especially trouble leftists now!)
It’s quite silly supposing that instruction in or experience with a thing increases the probability that thing will be used for evil. Does teaching a youngster to drive increase the chances he’ll mow down a crowd with a car? If a kid becomes skilled at baseball, is it more likely he’ll bludgeon someone unconscious with a bat? Does schooling a lad in carpentry raise the odds he’ll kill with a hammer?
Apropos of this, more people are murdered yearly with blunt instruments than with AR-15s or, for that matter, with rifles of any kind. Do we need blunt-instrument control?
Making this even odder is that there was a time when, unlike today, gun-control efforts had at least some relationship to reality. While I didn’t support the proposals, the emphasis back in the ’90s was on criminalizing handguns. The thinking was that most firearm murders are committed with handguns largely because, being concealable, they’re criminals’ weapons of choice.
In recent times, however, there’s been a fixation on prohibiting law-abiding sport shooters’ weapon of choice (the AR-15 is our nation’s most popular rifle). Given this jump-the-shark version of gun-grabbing, is it surprising that many Second Amendment advocates believe current proposals have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with control?
Moreover, while AR-15s have been used in some horrific massacres, they’re not actually the most effective firearms for a typical mass-shooting situation; that is, with “soft” targets (people without body armor) at close range. For this purpose, a semi-automatic shotgun would be far, far more devastating. After all, the AR’s standard round is small caliber — approximately the same as a .22 — and is moderate in muzzle velocity. (Yes, really. The weapon is the Wizard of Oz of firearms, with a reputation greatly exceeding its power.)
So why do some mass shooters choose AR’s, anyway? Part of the reason is that it’s more likely than other long guns to be on hand because, again, it’s our most popular rifle. Second, it’s appealing because it looks cool. Put differently, mass shooters may choose ARs because….
They usually know little about firearms.
Returning to the fevered fears over kids and guns, I remember reading the comments years ago of a judge who noted (I’m paraphrasing), “I’ve never seen a boy with a hunting or fishing license come before me [in court].” This is just common sense. Do you really think the lad with an engaged father — who teaches him proper gun-handling and takes him hunting or target-shooting — fits the criminal profile? The average mass shooter or career criminal is more likely to have had no dad around at all or one who was a miscreant himself.
In truth, the fear that exposure to firearms will somehow increase the chances a child will kill often reflects the godless perspective that conceives of man as just another animal. Put appealing food before a dog and he’ll gobble it down without thinking, governed by instinct; he’ll practically eat himself to death if you let him. Though also subject to temptation, only a human being will think: Should I eat this? Is it healthful? Will it make me fat?
Consider also that every child must learn to manage weapons — they’re called hands, fists and feet. Note, too, the FBI informs that more murders are committed yearly with these appendages, which the bureau classifies as “personnel weapons,” than with rifles of any kind.
The point is that man is a rational being, reflecting God in that he possesses intellect and free will. Yet those making the youth+gun exposure=trouble assumption appear to ignore the moral component. What’s more, they also don’t even rightly consider correlations. To wit: The phenomenon of increasingly frequent mass shootings manifested itself in the ’90s, but AR-15s weren’t born in the ’90s but in the late ’50s.
What does correlate with the ’90s mass shooting phenomenon, however, is the greatly increased medicating of children (especially boys) with psychotropic drugs, the intensification of mindless entertainment violence, the Internet’s rise, continued family breakdown, and burgeoning godlessness with its associated moral relativism. Any discussion about reducing crime that doesn’t include these factors simply isn’t serious.
In the same vein, in earlier times we had relatively few gun laws, and teaching boys to shoot at young ages was common. Why, in the ’40s and ’50s, lads would carry firearms openly on New York City subways (try that today) because they had rifle clubs at school. What changed in the ’60s and beyond? Access to guns?
As for the JR-15, it’s not only a brilliant marketing idea but makes sense. ARs are extremely light and have virtually no recoil, making them ideal for physically weaker people such as women and children. And since it’s smaller and uses .22 ammunition, the JR-15 is even lighter with less kick still. So it only makes sense that if you’re going to teach your kid to use a gun — in keeping with longstanding American tradition — such a weapon would be a logical choice.
None of this will matter to leftists, though, as they occupy an inverted moral universe. They believe children mustn’t be taught to shoot before 10 but must be taught about sex before 8, that it can be toxic to push a boy toward masculine pursuits but healthful to tell him he can become a girl. Operating with intellectual blanks and moral misfires, leftists are twisted souls — and their ideology has killed far more people than any gun ever could.
For those interested, below is a video from the SHOT Show 2022 (a gun trade event) in which the JR-15 is displayed and its features discussed.
©Selwyn Duke. All rights reserved.